US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Day 14. Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Discipleship and death

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Each day of Lent (minus Sundays) we'll bring you words of wisdom from spiritual guides.

14. Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Discipleship and death
Whoever enters discipleship enters Jesus' death, and puts his or her own life into death; this has been so from the beginning. The cross is not the horrible end of a pious, happy life, but stands rather at the beginning of community with Jesus Christ. Every call of Christ leads to death. Whether with the first disciples we leave home and occupation in order to follow him, or whether with Luther we leave the monastery to enter a secular profession, in either case the one death awaits us, namely death in Jesus Christ, the dying away of our old form of being human in Jesus' call.

Those who are not prepared to take up the cross, those who are not prepared to give their life to suffering and rejection by others, lose community with Christ and are not disciples. Discipleship is commitment to the suffering Christ. (quoted in Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter, Plough)

Bonhoeffer (1906-45) was a German Lutheran pastor and theologian who was martyred by the Nazis.

Find spiritual advice for Lent from other guides in 40 days to a new you.